We use abbreviations quite a lot in our daily routine. Getting along with some most common abbreviations in English will help you understand and initiate English conversations with your friends, family, colleagues, and people in general.

Abbreviations are the shortened form of commonly used words. Almost everyone loves abbreviations as they are easy to say and write. In this guide, we will go over a list of abbreviations that we are pretty sure you will find useful in your communications. But, before we get there, let’s define abbreviations and why they are so popular among English speakers.

What are abbreviations

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases. They may contain only a few letters from the original word, or they may contain the first letters of each word in a phrase (in which case they are known as “acronyms”).

In the English language, abbreviations are extremely common. They are particularly popular in business English because they are short and easy to remember, making business documents and other workplace communication much more efficient.

Today, much business communication is done on the go via emails, texting, or messaging, often on small devices where typing is difficult. You type less, save many keystrokes, and make fewer typos (an abbreviation for “typing errors”) when you use abbreviations. You can use different English learning apps to design business documents using different abbreviations and at the same time give it a professional format.

Now let’s move towards some common abbreviations in English that everyone must know and use in their conversations.

Written abbreviations

The abbreviations listed below are only used in written communications. They are not normally used in spoken communication.

1.    dept

This is the short form for the department.

Example: Ensure every dept gets involved in the meeting.

2.    Attn:

This means attention or for the attention of.

Here’s the format that’s usually used in letters, emails, and memos: Attn: + [name or title of person]

Attn: Adam Smith

3.    pls

It is the short form for please.  You can use it in informal communication with colleagues or friends.

Example: Pls pick me up from school.

4.    approx.

This abbreviation can be used as a shortened form of the word approximate or approximately.

Example: We are expecting approx. 10 meetings regarding this project.

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Spoken and written abbreviations

The below-mentioned abbreviations can be used in both spoken and written communications:

5.    doc

This one is short for the document.

Example: Can you email me the doc before 4 PM?

6.    TBA

This abbreviation for To Be Announced is frequently used in business event planning to indicate that something is scheduled to happen but that some details must still be confirmed and announced later.

Example: The new Managing Director will be joining us next month. The actual date is TBA.

7.    FYI

This is an abbreviation for the phrase For Your Information. It is often used to draw attention to certain information such as data, reports or file attachments.

Example: FYI, the details for the monthly bonus is attached to this email.

8.    HQ

This is the abbreviation for Headquarters.

Example: Meetings with the stakeholders are usually held at HQ.

9.    R&D

This is the abbreviation commonly used to refer to Research & Development, a department responsible for researching and developing new products.

Example: If you have a new product in mind, why not discuss it with the R&D Department to get it on board?

10. ASAP

This is the most common one and you might have come across this very popular abbreviation for As Soon As Possible.

Example: Kindly submit your presentation ASAP.

11. ETA

This denotes the Estimated Time of Arrival or the time someone is expected to arrive at their destination.

Example: Let me know your plane’s ETA so I can send the car to the airport to pick you up.

12. B2B

This is the abbreviation for Business-to-Business, a business relationship where a company’s customers are other businesses.

Example:  K. manufacturers is a popular B2B company that provides office supplies to other businesses.

13. B2C

It is the abbreviation for Business-to-Consumer, a business relationship where a company’s customers are individual consumers like you and me. An example of a B2C website you have probably heard of is Amazon. Most online shopping businesses are B2C.

14. RFP

It is a normal practice for companies to release a Request for Proposals from suppliers who are interested in bidding to complete a project for the company.

Example: The concerned department is still waiting for one more RFP from a company in America before we decide.

15. HR

This is short for Human Resources, which is the department that regulates the employees of a company.

Example: The HR of the company will let you know about the pay scale.

16. SEO

This abbreviation is used in the field of Information Technology (IT) to refer to Search Engine Optimization, a technique for attracting visitors from search engines such as Google to your website.

Example: We must improve the SEO of our web store to attract more buyers online.

17. P&L

This stands for Profit & Loss, which is a statement of accounts showing a company’s financial position.

Example: The stakeholders won’t be satisfied with the P&L this year.

18. IPO

An Initial Public Offering is the first time a company offers to sell its stock to the public.

Example: we have not exactly decided what the pricing of the IPO will be.

19. ISP

It is used in IT to refer to Internet Service Provider, a company such as AT&T that specializes in providing internet access to subscribers.

Example: Our ISP has been informed about the distortion of the internet during prime work hours.

20. PO

This is an abbreviation for Purchase Order, which is an official document issued by a company to a specific seller for items that the company intends to purchase.

Example: Denny has sent out a PO to the contractor who sold us those work tables.

21. CEO

It refers to the Chief Executive Officer or head of a business organization. It is one of the most common abbreviations used in daily routine English conversations.

Example: We will soon find out who our new CEO is.

22. CFO

This is the acronym for Chief Financial Officer or the head of finance in an organization.

Example: With our CFO on a foreign visit, who is in charge of finance these days?

23. PR

This is a common abbreviation used to refer to Public Relations, or the department or activities that create a good public image for the company.

Example: Improving our customer dealing can benefit our PR.

24. QC

This stands for Quality Control, an activity that ensures products are of an acceptable standard.

Example: All the company’s manufactured products go through detailed QC.

25. cc

This stands for carbon copy. It is a pre-email term that now refers to sending a copy of a letter or email to an additional person.

Example: Remember to cc the presentation to the manager.

These are the 25 most commonly used abbreviations in English. If you are an English learner, these abbreviations can help you understand different English writings and conversations. Apart from this, if you want to learn English online and looking for an authentic and professional English learning platform, try italki. Under the supervision of the best English tutor online (mostly English native speakers) you will become a fluent speaker within no time.

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Frequently asked questions

Q. What does PCR stand for in business?

A. The put-call ratio (PCR) is a popular indicator for determining the mood of the options market.

Q. What is the BRN abbreviation?

A. The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) is a state governmental agency established by law to protect the public by regulating the practice of registered nurses.

Q. What does RN mean in business?

A. RN stands for Registered Identification Number.


It is crucial for every English learner to understand these common abbreviations as they are widely used. In fact, learning them is as important as learning English pronouns as they all collectively make learners fluent English speakers.

Look for professional guidance if you find it difficult to deal with these short forms. Do visit italki to look for a suitable tutor who will help you learn basic English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence formation.

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